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The Politics of Faith: The Bible, Government, and Public Policy

ISBN: 9781506466996
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The Politics of Faith addresses key biblical texts and their intersection with questions of good government, social policy, and societal leadership. It speaks to Christians and others who seek to ponder and discuss the role of faith and Bible in their decisions about civic politics and faithful citizenship. This book aims to enable readers to see more clearly that the Bible does speak about the kinds of economic and social policies a nation should adopt. It will empower them to claim the message of Scripture in favor of policies that promote the good of those who are disadvantaged and the good of the community. It will help them make the argument that the Bible calls for laws and policies that expect the wealthy to contribute to the good of all, including policies and laws that are not always to their personal financial advantage.

The author explores ways the Old Testament shows God’s concern for social structures, the ideal early church community in Acts, and how the Gospel of Matthew shows concern for social structures in the ministry of Jesus. The final section looks at the writings of Paul, showing how they demand certain kinds of political commitments.

This book will help readers talk about how a deeper understanding of Scripture can affect how one votes and the kinds of policies one supports. Each chapter ends with a set of questions for discussion that both review what is in the chapter and provoke discussion about faithful action.

This is a Logos Reader Edition. Learn more.

Resource Experts
  • Represents a call to the church to raise its voice concerning political and social issues
  • Seeks to enable readers to think about how faith can and should shape what we think about how our culture and government deal with a issues that concern the economic and social spheres
  • Argues the Bible has much to say concerning the role of God’s people to bring political institutions into conformity with God’s will
  • Introduction: Is It That Bad or Is It Politics As Usual?
  • The Witness of the Mosaic Covenant
  • The Witness of the Prophets
  • Acts: The Earliest Church and Economic Systems
  • Matthew’s Jesus on the Church’s Mission
  • Expectations for Nations in Parables of Jesus
  • Luke and Care for hose Who Are Poor and Disadvantaged
  • Paul, the Ruler of This World, and Sin (with a Capital S)
  • The Example of Jesus and the Good of Others
  • Revelation on World Governments
  • Being a Faithful Church in Today’s World

Top Highlights

“When we affirm that there needs to be a separation of church and state, we don’t really mean that the church should have no influence.” (Page 5)

“Some, but not all, are willing to turn a blind eye to support policies that make some social ills worse if they can see gains in areas that seem to support of their beliefs about personal morality. Some refuse to see racism in our national immigration debates and policies, perhaps in part because they see movement toward banning abortion or returning Christian prayer to events at public schools.” (Page 4)

“God is concerned about personal and social morality” (Pages 14–15)

Jerry Sumney rejects the idea that the Bible has nothing to do with politics. He also rejects the use of it to support one’s own political leaning, be it cultural conservatism or cultural liberalism. Instead, Sumney offers readers a wide-angle view of the diverse forms of engagement with religious and ethical concern for the common good found in Scripture. A must read for the church in today’s contentious society.

O. Wesley Allen, Jr., Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics, Perkins School of Theology, SMU

While politics and faith have long shared a complicated history—both within the United States and beyond—this book digs deeply within the traditions of biblical faith and scholarship to show that faith at its best is always connected to building a more just and fair world. In the process of reading this book it quickly became clear to me that I wasn’t simply learning about how all of this played out in the past; rather, I was experiencing a holy invitation to be part of Christ’s transformative work today.

Phil Snider, author of Preaching After God

A book that packs a wallop more staggering than most five times its size, The Politics of Faith presents solid biblical theology with a razor’s edge. With straightforward clarity, piercing analysis, and real courage, Professor Sumney challenges our shrunken religious and political positions, be they evangelical or mainline. Confronted with a diverse yet coherent scriptural testimony, you and I are compelled to face our spiritual corruption and moral cowardice. If I could send one book on this subject to every adult Sunday school class in America’s churches, it would be The Politics of Faith.

C. Clifton Black, Otto A. Piper Professor of Biblical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

  • Title: The Politics of Faith: The Bible, Government, and Public Policy
  • Author: Jerry L. Sumney
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Print Publication Date: 2020
  • Logos Release Date: 2021
  • Pages: 134
  • Era: era:contemporary
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Reader Edition
  • Subjects: Christianity and politics; Politics in the Bible; Bible and politics
  • ISBNs: 9781506466996, 9781506467009, 1506466990, 1506467008
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-30T02:16:00Z

In the Logos Reader Edition, this volume is enhanced to best fit the content. Scripture references are hand-tagged to integrate with powerful functionality in Logos Bible Software. Page milestones and internal citation tagging provide accurate points of reference. Search important words across resources to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive tools for reading digital content are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Jerry L. Sumney was born in Indiana and grew up in central Florida. He taught in the religion department at Ferrum College from 1986-1997. Mr. Sumney is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and is past president for the Southeastern Region of the Society. At the national level, he also served as the chair of the steering committee for the Theology of the Disputed Paulines Group from 1996-2001 and currently serves as the chair of the steering committee for the Disputed Paulines Consultation. He is also currently chair for the Pauline Epistles and Literature Section of the international meeting of the SBL. He has written four books: Identifying Paul’s Opponents; Servants of Satan, False Brothers, and Other Pauline Opponents; Preaching Apocalyptic Texts (co-authored with Larry Paul Jones) and Philippians, A Handbook for Second-Year Greek Students (forthcoming, Hendickson, 2004). He is co-editor of Theology and Ethics in Paul and His Interpreters and Paul and Pathos. He also has written several articles in journals and books. He is currently working on a commentary on Colossians for the New Testament Library series. Mr. Sumney and his wife, Diane, have three daughters: Elizabeth, Victoria, and Margaret.


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